Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lake District


There are some photographs here for anyone who is interested. I've not captioned many since I'm sure it's all very familiar terrain for most. Some duplication is unavoidable.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Smothered in 'outdoor shops' of varying quality, Keswick has lost most of its interest and character. [ Edit: this is way too harsh an assessment. It really is not fair at all!!]Even George Fisher's doesn't seem to be as well stocked as usual which might be driven by the economic climate, tighter controls by new owner Tiso or a combination of both.

So, home tomorrow after a thoroughly enjoyable holiday which included a day at the Beatrix Potter International Study Conference where a friend, and Keswick resident, gave a paper as scholarly as it was amusing; friends from the US whom we didn't expect to see there surprised us; and Lynne met Patron of The Beatrix Potter Society, Patricia Routledge, for the first time. But it's the days on the fells that were special.

If there is any summer left in Scotland we might manage a trip to Rum with the tent, but it will have to be fitted in between sorting out the garden and cutting the hedges. Oh, and I'll have to sort out the photographs.

Sir Hugh - AlanR has enlightened you before I could finish this post.

AlanR - thanks for the above. Resale? You must be joking! This is for self- medication only.

Thanks to both of you for your regular comments and company on this trip. I'll be catching up with your blogs next week to find out what you have been up to.

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Friday 13 July - Final day out

And so, in the late afternoon and for the last time this holiday, we passed along the honeysuckle lanes in the Newlands Valley. From Little Town, we'd climbed Catbells - it's a ritual thing - and we were happy to stand on its bare, rocky top on a calm and quite beautiful morning.

We met a lady there who offered to photograph us together. "No thanks, we've got hundreds in various stages of ageing", replied Lynne. " Would you like us to take one of you?" She had lots too, taken over the years, and said she'd stick with the younger versions!" It transpired that she'd been at a conference in Kendal, had seen the good weather forecast, chucked the tent in the car and extended her stay to do some walking.

Of course Catbells alone would have been too brief a day, so we crossed to Maiden Moor, to the cairn on Blea Crag and then along the edge of Eel Crags. A large, noisy rabble of an 'organised' group had surrounded the High Spy cairn and showed no sign of moving while they variously screamed, made 'phone calls etc. It seems the ability to scream is a pre-requisite for 'group activities' these days.

Tomorrow we'll have a look round Keswick market where in the past we've found some old climbing books of interest.

Sir Hugh - I've never done the round from Buttermere, always from Newlands which I think is one of the loveliest of valleys and, as you say, the view from Dale Head is one of the best in the Lakes. I remember the post about your hair-raising dash back to Honister to collect your wallet.

AlanR - We've not done badly for tops on this trip despite the unpromising weather forecasts at the start of the holiday. Today after our walk we bought some Holts at Booths to smuggle over the border on Sunday!
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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Three fells - a brief post for the record

The previous offering was posted (but not written) sitting by the cairn on Hindscarth after a lovely walk from Dale Head. A saunter round Littledale Edge and short climb took us to Robinson where we lazed in the sun for ages. The Wasdale fells and Pillar looked particularly fine.

We descended somewhat reluctantly, as you do when conditions are so pleasant.

PhilR - Thanks for commenting. The weather has been much better than forecasted, with most of the rain falling overnight. The walking has been as enjoyable as ever.

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Wednesday 11 July - Dalehead Tarn, High Spy and Maiden Moor

First, well done to Alan Rayner for correctly identifying Eel Crags. [Sorry Andrew W and Conrad]

After a wet Tuesday in the Grisedale Tarn area, today was a proper summer's day

The walk to Dalehead Tarn was all pleasure with Dale Head filling the view ahead, the lovely waterfalls of Newlands Beck and the long line of Eel Crags rising above us. Despite all the rain we've had this week, their rocks looked dry and in good climbing condition but, unless and until I get my finger fixed, this fact was, I reflected with some regret, of no immediate importance.

Lunch was taken at the tarn, or at least in the sheep-fold close by, to escape the wind. Herdwicks grazed high on Dale Head and two others wandered into our enclosure, looked straight at us then paid us no heed. Without them the landscape wouldn't be what it is, the Lakes simply not the Lakes.

From High Spy's large cairn, Esk Pike, Great End, the Scafells and Great Gable looked inviting but sadly won't be visited on this trip. It's been many years since we stood on their summits but maybe later this year we will be once again on "the roof of England". I hope so.

A windy walk to Maiden Moor followed by a leisurely descent to Little Town, a lovely walk along lanes lined with holly, hazel, birch, oak, hawthorn, and much else, brought us back to the 'van and the end of a memorable day.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Where is this?

Hint: there is a small tarn nearby.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Monday 9 July - Ard Crags, Scar Crags and Causey Pike

According to Harry Griffin, it could be argued that Causey Pike is merely "the first incident on an extremely pleasant ridge" (to Scar Crags and beyond presumably) and "not really very much of a mountain". It could be argued no doubt, but I've never really regarded this fine little peak in such a way.

The ascent by Rowling End with its numerous rocky steps and the final scamble up the 'chimney' to the summit of Causey makes it feel much more than an 'incident' on a ridge to me.

The title of the post tells of what we climbed today - a day of drizzle and low cloud in the morning as we ascended via the Rigg Beck path - and of sunshine and flowing mists in the pm.

Alan- Thanks for both your comments. We like being based here since we can get to all our favourite areas relatively easily. High Moss - I wouldn't have known where it was either without checking the map. I just happened to have the Satmap on otherwise I'd probably have said 'from near Outerside'. Put that mint sauce away!

Conrad - I had planned to do a full post on this very topic when home, so I hope you won't mind waiting for a full' reply'. Like you my formative years were spent rock climbing in the Lake District (from 1967) and Lynne and I have been regular visitors since then. I know, therefore, where you're coming from, but I still have a great affection for the fells. More later and thanks for commenting.

D+D - thanks for looking after the house as usual.

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Monday, 9 July 2012

Saturday 7 July - Sail and Eel Crag (Crag Hill)

We expected the fells to be busy and they were. From High Moss hardly a gap could be seen between walkers making their way up Grisedale Pike. I'm exaggerating, of course, but not by much!

Shortly after we reached 'Sail Pass' others arrived from various directions, happy that the weather was dry and sunny. The cairn on Sail was partially 'moated', a sign that today's conditions had not been exactly common of late.

The summit of Crag Hill (or Eel Crag as I have always known it) is a rather good view point and we had it to ourselves to enjoy. We considered going on to Grasmoor but the broad unsightly path did not appeal and in any event a finer route follows the edge of Dove Crags overlooking Gasgale Gill.

We enjoyed a late and leisurely lunch on the grassy slopes above the path in the company of a few Herdwicks, one fast asleep, then made our way slowly down, often pausing to absorb the unique atmosphere of the fells.

A Herdwick lamb confidently approached us as we left Coledale Hause. Lovely.

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Friday, 6 July 2012

Thursday 5 July - Fine weather, fine fells

It was a pleasant surprise to wake to blue skies this morning and we wasted no time in getting away, just in case the old adage "bright too soon, rain by noon" held true.

We were heading for Coledale and passing through Braithwaite triggered memories of several Christmas Eves singing carols in the bar of the Royal Oak with the local Vicar at the piano. The hotel provided a free bowl of soup while a collection tin did the rounds.

It was hot and muggy as we made our way along the track to Force Crag Mine and not a soul did we meet until a family arrived at Coledale Hause having come up from Buttermere. We had no real objective today except to wander aimlessly, but Whiteside was tempting - until it became the only fell engulfed by cloud. After some procrastination (the penalty for having no fixed objectives) we opted for Hopegill Head whose airy summit is a pleasant spot.

However, the most interesting feature of this fell is Hobcarton Crag, a decaying, crumbling mass of Skiddaw slate which is the home of the red alpine catchfly. Apparently, the "rotteness of Hobcarton Crag is probably due to some potent mineral" and the red alpine catchfly can survive in Britain "only in conditions that are so repugnant to the majority of plants that any severe competition is eliminated". Bilberry (blaeberry) also grows in profusion.

As we left the top (after more procrastination) it looked as if weather was coming: dark clouds were gathering over all but the Helvellyn range but, by the time we arrived at Grisedale Pike's tiny cairn, things were looking up again and soon we were basking in sunshine. It was a slow descent with much lazing around in the heather near Sleet How and several stops to chat to walkers on their way up. An easy day out to start the holiday but, if the weather forecast is accurate, it might be our last in dry conditions.

Conrad: the photograph is looking towards Barf from near Castlerigg.

I hadn't read about Gayle's mishap. I'm sure she's in good hands.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lake District

Instead of "hills and burns" we are in the land of "fells and becks" after a two year absence, and it's very nice to be back. The weather is muggy but it's midge-free so I'm not complaining.

The fells tomorrow.

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